Today we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. Before I speak about our readings today I need to reemphasize one of the fundamental truths of the Christian faith.
That is, that the Sacred Scriptures are the Holy and Infallible word of God. They are not simply a collection of moral writings. They are not simply a historical account of the writings and saying of Jesus, the Apostles and the early Church. Their teachings cannot be explained away as a product of another culture and time. They are God breathed and inspired. They are God speaking to us yesterday, today and forever. They come straight from God through his Apostles, but because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit there is no error in their transmission or recording. They are the infallible word of God. With that infallibility come authority.
They speak with the authority of God because they are God’s words to us. You cannot be a Christian if you don’t believe this.
Someone might call themselves a Christian but they are not. To be a Christian requires we believe in the inspiration, infallibility and authority of God’s word.
Believing in the inspiration, infallibility and authority of God’s word we turn to those words for us today.
The second reading, in particular, gives us a very good catechesis or teaching on the nature, authority and kingship of Jesus Christ. Speaking of God the Father it tells us: “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
There are two kingdoms. One is the kingdom of darkness and one is the Kingdom of Christ. We belong to one of the two kingdoms.
All of us, by virtue of original sin, were members of the kingdom of darkness. Because Christ died for our sins and empowered the waters of Baptism, we can be freed from this kingdom.
We now have the possibility of living in the Kingdom of Christ if we choose. Not because of what we do, but because of what Christ did.
But it is a Kingdom with a King and if we choose to reject the authority of that King then we choose to live in the kingdom of darkness.
God tells us more: “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; “all” things were created through him and for him.”
Notice the word “All”. Often times in modern minds there is a reflexive action to change that word to some.
But here all means all. Every single one. All things in Heaven, all the orders of angels: thrones, dominions, etc.; and all things on earth, whether we can see it or not were created through him and for him. Most people don’t forget the first one, they will admit God created the world. But Satan intends that we forget the second. We were created for him.
You see that is what caused Satan to rebel. He wanted to be for himself. He wanted to be created for his will, not the will of another. He wanted to be king and not the servant.
But that doesn’t change reality. The reality is we, each and everyone of us, whether we accept it or not were created for someone. We were created for Christ. He is the King of the Kingdom of Light. We were created to be his subjects. If we refuse, then we choose another kingdom, with another ruler. That is the kingdom of darkness.
To be in the Kingdom of Light means we accept him as our ruler. Not just in some things. He rules over all. As Scripture says “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent.” There is that word “All” again. He is to be first in all things. He is to be first in all areas of our life. We can’t change that word to some areas of our life. God’s infallible, authoritative, holy word says he is first in all. If we refuse then we choose another ruler. Christ must be our first priority, in every area of our life, if he is to be our King and we wish to live in his Kingdom. Not in some areas. In every area.
But having Christ as your King does not mean you will be what we think of as a slave. That our existence will be miserable. It means exactly the opposite. How do we know? God’s holy, authoritative word, free from all error, tells us so: For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.”
With Christ comes fullness. Without him there is an emptiness in the core of our being. We weren’t created to suffer eternal hunger. We were created for the fullness of life. That we might have life and have it to the full as it says in John 10:10. Christ Kingdom is where we find that fullness. Submitting to him is to submit not to a hard rule but to submit to happiness. If God wants what is best for us and wants us to be perfectly happy then we have the same goal.
The problem is when we work against God’s will. That is what brings us emptiness and pain. So much does Christ want our happiness and fulfillment that he was willing to die to give it to us. Not just any death but a brutal and horrific one. That is the kind of Kingdom he has established. Christ said he came not to be served but to serve.
Accepting the Kingship of Christ in our life is to not to take the role of a demeaned servant. It is to become a son and daughter of a great king. That is what we were intended for. Christ will do, and has done, whatever was necessary to make that a possibility. But he wont’ inflict it upon us violently. He doesn’t expand his kingdom through violence, he does it through love. We do have free will. We can say no. Many say no to Christ and his Kingdom. But in the end we will be a member of a kingdom. Whether it is the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light is up to us.
We make that choice by acknowledge Christ is our King like the Good thief in the Gospel. This isn’t an intellectual exercise.
We don’t just agree. If we did that we would be like the other thief. He was arrogant. He demanded things before he would submit. If you are this then give me this.
The good thief recognized his place. He was the first human to acknowledge Christ as King and to understand what he was King of. He chastises the other thief: “Have you no fear of God”. He recognized Christ as God and as King of the world to come. He submits himself mind, body and will. He recognizes he was created for Christ and gives himself completely to him. He asks to be remembered. Christ, so moved with love by the thief’s repentance and humility tells him: today the promise would be fulfilled. Today he would be with him in paradise.
For that is the reason Christ came into the world. So that all things might be reconciled to him. The only thing he can’t reconcile is the person who refuses it. We accept Christ as our King or we establish ourselves as the king of our lives. To accept Christ is to accept the fullness for which we were created. It is to allow him to rule our lives; every area of our lives. Our minds, bodies, and wills. If we choose to have a single part of ourselves or our lives not under the authority of Christ then he allows us to have what we ask for. We abandon the Kingdom of Light and choose the kingdom of darkness.
I don’t think most of us want that, yet many people today are like the bad thief. They have no fear of God. They do not fear offending him. They do not fear being parted from him because they do not think it is possible. Hell for them doesn’t exist. Everybody is in heaven, they think, the only thing you have to do to go to heaven is to die they think. They don’t really understand, that you have to belong to Christ and his Kingdom of Light first before you die and be ruled by the Christ the King in all areas of your life to be even consider to be a part, a member of his Kingdom for eternity. Is not as simple as we say in our common language;
” he/she died he/she is in a better place now!” If he/she lowed Jesus in all areas of his/her live, yes, he/she is in heaven, if not, the place he/she is in is not necessarily better! This real cautious approach keeps us humble. It allows us to submit to the Kingship of Christ. It leads us to salvation like it did the good thief.
The question is do we belong to his Kingdom and put him first and let him rule every area of our lives? That is to accept membership in the Kingdom of Christ. If we try to change the word “all” to “some”. We put him first some of the time, we let him rule some area of our lives then we go against scripture. God’s holy, authoritative and infallible word says: “all”.
Darkness or light; Some or all; Christ as King or anything or anyone else as king.